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Alienware Steam Machine Video Interview

By , Alex Davies - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 8 comments

We talk to Alienware about Steam Machine.

Alienware Steam Machine

One of the more clearly custom designs at Valve's Steam Machines event came from Alienware. Granted, the black box on display at the event was just an empty shell with nothing more than colorful LEDs, but our talks with the company indicated that there's some careful engineering going into the hardware. Unlike some of the competition, Alienware will be shipping its Steam Machine with SteamOS as the only option. Customers who want to run other OS on this hardware will have to hack their own way.

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Add your comment Display 8 Comments.
  • 0 Hide
    jasonelmore , January 7, 2014 8:04 AM
    This Alienware unit better be cheap if you cant run windows on it. The connectivity on this thing is laughable.
  • -1 Hide
    wysir , January 7, 2014 8:57 AM
    Will there be Windows drivers for whatever hardware goes inside? If not, that's a big risk put on consumer shoulders.
  • 1 Hide
    Marcus52 , January 7, 2014 9:13 AM
    There is nothing about the SteamOS that will prevent you from installing Windows and creating a dual-boot system.The question I would have is - why would you want Steam OS on a system where you have Windows? It brings nothing to the table if you've already invested in Windows because Windows runs OpenCL games just fine. On the other hand, SteamOS won't run DirectX games, it is limited to OpenCL based games.These "Steam Machines" are nothing but PCs with SteamOS loaded on them instead of Windows. You will make the same cost decisions about the hardware you'd make building or buying a Windows PC, except the SteamOS will be free, you won't have to buy an OS (Windows) to install. This is pretty much what we've had for decades with Linux distros, except now Valve is putting their own label on a version of Linux and making the OS something centered around Steam.The Steam game controller looks to be an interesting device, but it will also work fine on a Windows-based PC. As far as the cost of a pre-built Steam machine - it isn't going to be less than $500. I think it is more realistic to put a $600 minimum expected cost on a pre-built. And if that's what you spend on your Steam Machine, your performance will be comparable to a Windows $600 PC, you just won't be able to play your favorite DirectX games on it.
  • 1 Hide
    Bloob , January 7, 2014 12:01 PM
    Quote:
    There is nothing about the SteamOS that will prevent you from installing Windows and creating a dual-boot system.The question I would have is - why would you want Steam OS on a system where you have Windows? It brings nothing to the table if you've already invested in Windows because Windows runs OpenCL games just fine. On the other hand, SteamOS won't run DirectX games, it is limited to OpenCL based games.These "Steam Machines" are nothing but PCs with SteamOS loaded on them instead of Windows. You will make the same cost decisions about the hardware you'd make building or buying a Windows PC, except the SteamOS will be free, you won't have to buy an OS (Windows) to install. This is pretty much what we've had for decades with Linux distros, except now Valve is putting their own label on a version of Linux and making the OS something centered around Steam.The Steam game controller looks to be an interesting device, but it will also work fine on a Windows-based PC. As far as the cost of a pre-built Steam machine - it isn't going to be less than $500. I think it is more realistic to put a $600 minimum expected cost on a pre-built. And if that's what you spend on your Steam Machine, your performance will be comparable to a Windows $600 PC, you just won't be able to play your favorite DirectX games on it.


    It seems the prices range from $499 to something like $5000.

    While I can't help but feel a little excited about Steam machines and OS, the cynic in me fails to see the value.
  • 0 Hide
    bluekoala , January 7, 2014 12:22 PM
    @Marcus52: You sir must be thinking about OpenGL. The point of Steamboxes are to bring computer gaming to the living room. The advantages it brings are huge considering you'll have the same library of games on your computer desk. Also, game will always be backwards compatible and in many cases multi-platform. DirectX is soon to be a thing of the pas as it is a means of locking in games and gamers onto a single platform. Locking in is good for the dominant company, but once that company loses its relevance, it starts becoming a negative aspect.
  • 0 Hide
    bluekoala , January 7, 2014 12:24 PM
    @Bloob: That's only because you know you can build your own for cheaper. And you probably should too. By the time the second or 3rd generations come out, the value should become more evident as the builds will be more refined and the cost to performance value should improve.
  • 0 Hide
    cramved , January 7, 2014 1:57 PM
    Its just a pc with linux nothing more.
  • -1 Hide
    jasonpwns , January 7, 2014 2:48 PM
    Alienware managed to design a case that looks better than a PS4 or xbox One case. Nice.
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